Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
This installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by creator fintech company Karat Financial.
For Mighty Duck, content creation is all about catching things in the moment. He constantly carries a camera and keeps it rolling, hoping to capture candid, entertaining moments in his day-to-day life.
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And he’s been capturing those moments for years now. Mighty Duck got his start sharing six-second clips on Vine (RIP). Like many content creators (especially folks on short-form platforms like Vine and TikTok) Mighty Duck started posting videos as a hobby, filming them between, and sometimes during, his shifts at a seafood market. When his interest in Vine waned, he bumped over to YouTube–something that turned out to be a life-changing decision.
Mighty Duck had gone viral immediately on Vine, but on YouTube, things were slower. He kept at it, regularly posting five- to 15-minute videos of himself with his family and friends, and his consistency began to quite literally pay off. Mighty Duck was at his second job, an overnight shift he worked with his dad, when his first sizable AdSense payout hit his account. He “didn’t think nothing of it,” he says, but when the next month’s was even bigger, he started paying attention.
When it became clear the YouTube money wasn’t slowing down anytime soon, Mighty Duck quit both jobs and became a full-time YouTuber.
These days he’s full-time across several platforms, including TikTok, where he has 5.2 million followers, and Instagram, where he has 2.2 million. On YouTube, he has 2.27 million subscribers–so yes, we know we’re a little late here, but we still wanted to sit down with Mighty Duck to commemorate him becoming a YouTube Millionaire.
Check out our chat with him below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: We know this was a while ago now, but how did it feel to hit one million subscribers?
Mighty Duck: When I first hit one million subscribers, of course I took it as a blessing. For YouTube, it was just like winning the Super Bowl, I guess, because I had already hit a million on Vine before, so I kind of knew how it felt to hit one million, but to hit a million on YouTube is different. It’s a different feeling, because you get a plaque, you get more recognition on the main page. So it was cool.
Tubefilter: You’ve also hit a million on TikTok—well over a million now. Was your growth on TikTok quicker than your growth on YouTube?
MD: For sure. My growth on TikTok was fast. I hit a million in like, a couple weeks. I stayed around 70,000 on TikTok for a long time because I didn’t really use the app. Then I went to VidCon one year and my friend, my manager, Ro [editor’s note: Rocio Ramirez, talent manager at Collab Inc.], she told me I should get on TikTok. So I went back home from VidCon and got a million just from posting old videos.
Tubefilter: These days you produce a lot of content for both YouTube and TikTok, and you do some longer-form content on YouTube. Is your production for both platforms entirely separate, or are you producing some of the same content for both?
MD: It’s totally different content. TikTok is just quick little videos, but YouTube is different. It’s only 60 seconds on TikTok, and on YouTube it’s a different vibe. I feel like YouTube is more of a show, and TikTok is more of a commercial.
Tubefilter: So would you say you want people to see you on TikTok and then come follow you on YouTube?
MD: Oh, of course, yeah.
Tubefilter: Okay, let’s back up really quick. For people who might not know you, what did you do before you got on Vine?
MD: I had a job. I was working before Vine, before anything. I was just working at a seafood market. I made videos there, actually. I feel like I got lucky [with Vine], but yeah, I was just working a regular job. No school, no nothing. I was really just working to become a manager. I didn’t know what my life would turn out to be, because I was never going to college because school was never my thing, you know? So I never looked at college. Basically, I just worked.
Tubefilter: How did you end up on Vine?
MD: I made a video with my friends and it just went crazy. It just went viral, so I made another one. And that’s really what started it all.
Tubefilter: Then when Vine shut down, you ended up moving to YouTube?
MD: Actually, I stopped making Vines for a little while. But I moved over to YouTube probably while I was still making Vine stuff.
Tubefilter: So you went viral right away, but did you have a moment where you were like, “This could be an actual career”? A moment when it moved beyond something fun to do with your friends and became a real future prospect?
MD: When it hit me that it was a career, I was at my second job with my dad. I was on night shift, and I got a check on PayPal from YouTube, and it was a good amount of money. I didn’t think nothing of it. Then I started making more and more and then I just up and quit because it got too crazy. So that’s when I knew—I just quit, right then.
Tubefilter: What does the average day look like for you? How much time are you spending making videos, and how does your general production process work?
MD: I take my camera everywhere I go, so I’m constantly working. It’s always a catch-a-video-in-the-moment type of deal, so I always have my camera, with my family and friends. I just wake up, think about what I’m doing, think about what I’m gonna shoot for content, and you know, just chill throughout the day. Nothing crazy. Just chilling for the most part.
Tubefilter: We did want to ask…You have a lot of videos that are 20 minutes plus—a length that used to be a lot more common, but now is pretty rare. The fact that you get a lot of consistent views on these videos is a real accomplishment. What draws you to making longer videos?
MD: We record a lot, and when we get to editing, it’s hard to take stuff out. My goal used to be to make the video shorter, but people love vlogs, love the content. So I just make the videos longer. Not all my videos are like that—mainly my vlogs on holidays and things like that, big vlogs when we go out of town or on vacation. Those are my videos that are 20 minutes long. And some challenge videos, because people just stay entertained, which is good.
Shout-out to my fans because they actually watch the videos that long. It’s hard to engage with stuff sometimes, especially these days when you’ve got so much going on, and they just continue watching my videos for 20 minutes.
@officialmightyduck Answer @cranky_crab ♬ Infinity – Jaymes Young
Tubefilter: Speaking of your viewers, do you have any strategies for growing your audience? You film very spontaneously, but do you target what you film toward what your viewers like?
MD: Yeah. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I really know what my audiences likes and wants. Basically everything on my page is that. I know my followers want more challenges with my family and friends, and I am taking my YouTube to more family-oriented videos with my household, because my kids are getting older and they’re starting to know what to do. They’re starting to prank me off camera.
So I’ve got to figure out a way to get a camera in their hands so they can prank me. That’s how we’re doing it. I’m just gonna keep pranking my wife, my kids, mom, dad, sisters, you know. Same thing, but more in the house, more family stuff. My daughter’s three now; she went viral on TikTok already. My son is six. He’s starting to play pranks on me too—so that’s probably the direction I’ll take it from here on out.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making videos overall?
MD: My favorite part of making videos is, first, looking back on it yourself as your best memories. Forever, you can always go back and look at these things. And secondly, it just brings joy to so many people. I get tons of messages a day saying how my video turned that day upside down and that’s like music to my ears. That’s the main part. I just love how my videos make people’s days and make people happy. That’s what it’s really all about at the end of the day: showing your positivity and having your positivity reflect on other people.
Tubefilter: You mentioned a bit about bringing your family more into things this year. Do you have any other upcoming plans for you and your channel?
MD: Right now, just stay on my content and be consistent, and we’re gonna see where it goes from there. YouTube is really what I’m trying to work hard at, so right now it’s just YouTube. Of course, I want to branch off and have my own show, maybe on Netflix or some big streaming thing, but for right now, it’s just YouTube. Just noticing all the blessings that are in front of me and continue on doing what I’m doing.
Mighty Duck is represented by Rocio Ramirez at Collab Inc.
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